March 1, 2021

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Coast Guard seizes drugs valued at more than $ 48 million in two interventions

Coast Guard crew Heriberto Hernández (WPC-1114) unloaded approximately 1,981 kilograms of cocaine, 28 kilograms of amphetamines and six suspected smugglers in the San Juan Sector on Friday, following two separate interceptions in the Caribbean Sea.

The illegal narcotics seized have a wholesale value of more than $ 48 million.

The interventions were the result of the efforts of international partnerships and multiple agencies in support of the enhanced counterdrug operations of the United States Southern Command in the Western Hemisphere, the Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. Organized (OCDETF) and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico leads the prosecution of the two cases.

“The Coast Guard is uniquely equipped to support the US Navy and the navies and coastguards of partner nations in interdicting illicit drugs,” said Rear Admiral Eric C. Jones, commander of the Seventh District of the United States. Coast Guard.

“Our relationships with the nations of the Caribbean Basin, together with our law enforcement authorities, enable us to provide essential mission support against international criminal networks attempting to smuggle people and drugs into the United States. We strive to continue building these relationships, further enabling our essential missions that protect the American people and our nation’s vital maritime commerce. “

“We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement agencies, together with our partners in the Royal Netherlands Navy and the United Kingdom, against drug traffickers in our area,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States District Attorney from Puerto Rico. “These seizures mark two most successful operations in our fight against criminal organizations that try to use our territories as a hub for their illegal operations.”

The most recent interdiction occurred on Monday, September 28. During a routine patrol of the RFA Argus, a UK Royal Fleet auxiliary ship, the helicopter crew observed a suspicious ship with several packages and barrels of fuel on board. The HNLMS Groningen, a Royal Netherlands Navy-class offshore patrol vessel operating nearby with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment on board, responded and intercepted the rapid with the help of asset from boat surface.

The HNLMS Groningen crew embarked three smugglers; a Colombian, a Venezuelan and a citizen of the Dominican Republic from the beginning. They also located and recovered on board the 49 fast bales that weighed 1,721 kilograms and tested positive for cocaine, and a package that weighed 28 kilograms and tested positive for amphetamines.

The second interdiction occurred on September 24, after the crew of a US Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious 35-foot fast vessel in transit without the use of navigation lights. . Coast Guard guards in the San Juan Sector directed the launch of an Ocean Sentry HC-144 aircraft from the Miami Coast Guard Air Station that relieved the first aircraft and maintained the go-fast air coverage.

The cutter Heriberto Hernández responded to the sighting and intercepted the rapid with the help of the small boat of the cutter and the crew of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard boarding team embarked the three men, who claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic, along with 13 bundles of alleged contraband that were located under a blue tarp aboard the go-fast. The seized contraband tested positive for cocaine and weighed 260 kilograms.

Cutter Heriberto Hernández transported the seized contraband and the alleged smugglers from both cases to the San Juan Sector, where pending federal law enforcement agencies were given custody.

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